The Spokesman of Ikenga’s family, Mr Inaku Adaoluohu, at the weekend, accused the Nigeria Police Force of intimidation and blackmail over charges and ordered arrest made by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, against Ikenga over attack of police officers under the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), unit.
Adaoluohu made the statement on behalf of the family to clear the public about the case, where they said the suspect was not a stolen car dealer and never intentionally instigated the attack on the police officers on that fateful day.
According to him the Nigeria Police Force is unjustly calling the accused a bad name so they can rob him of his human rights, which they have already claimed that he has been involved in the business of buying stolen vehicles, and also said the police officers were unprofessional during the said operation that made them appear as kidnappers, which led to their attack by some youths that mistook them for kidnappers.
According to him, Ikenga grew up in Okuku community and has been living his life with family members and doing his cattle rearing and selling business over the years.
It was also gathered that the said Ikenga was kidnapped by unknown Gunmen something last year, who tortured him brutally leaving him with life threatening injuries before he regained freedom after his family paid huge amount of money as ransom.
He also noted that, Ikenga has never been involved in any criminal dealings before, neither does he have any criminal gang as being painted by the police.
He said, “On Wednesday 17 April 2019, Ikenga said he was home when he had a call from someone expressing his wish to buy a cow from him at the cost of N150, 000, and that he was directed by a friend in Benue State to come to contact Ikenga.
“Though it was not strange to him as he has some business associates who are cattle dealers most times could send a potential buyer in case he may not have them in stock. Acting in good faith, he directed them a description on how to locate his house.
“The would-be cattle buyers claimed to have arrived Igoli, a town in Ogoja LGA of Cross River State. They insisted he meets them there but he too insisted that his cattle stable is in Okuku in Yala LGA, Cross River State and not far from where the would-be cattle buyers claimed they were.
He said, “After a while, the would-be cattle buyers claimed they had arrived Okuku town. Ikenga asked that they come to his house but they insisted that Ikenga meets them at Okuku junction. On getting to the Okuku junction, he noticed that the people calling were occupants of a tinted highlander jeep as he noticed that the caller was an occupant of the said vehicle as its front glass window a little wound down.
“The occupants were acting strange about this time as they won’t disclose their position. This aroused his curiosity as it was same method adopted by those that kidnapped him in 2018. The description fits this vehicle that the strangers used again. It’s important to state that about a month ago in March 2019, same vehicle that befits this chased after him until the vehicle he was driving in hit a tree and went to hit a building at night. They came down to even search his car.
His saving grace was that he laid lifeless until his assailants left. This must have all replayed itself as while standing trying to figure out what was happening, a man came from behind to grab him while occupants of the vehicle came out with 4 AK47 rifles. He could not but shout for help as it was broad day light and more than 3 persons had been kidnapped by same highlander in the same town.
The stolen vehicle in question
“Concerning the vehicle in question, Ikenga bought the vehicle from a guy identified as ” biggy” from Gboko, Benue State, at the cost of N1.4 million. The said biggy has been using the vehicle for commercial purpose in Gboko for more than three months before selling it out.
“Ikenga equally bought the vehicle and sold it immediately to one Augustine Araki about a month and one week before the incident. One thing should be made clear, the police never went to Ikenga’s house neither did they disclosed that they neither were policemen nor put on anything to show they were police.
“Secondly, the Ogoja Area Command and the Okuku Division Police when initially contacted confirmed that they had no knowledge of police deployment within their jurisdiction which means they may not have registered their presence in these places which is expected of them.
“These police formations will have at least assisted them in carrying out the task smoothly without resorting to this kind of unnecessary use of commando approach.”
He (Adaoluohu) also explained that, “A close source revealed that they had come into town on 16 April in the afternoon and had already seen the vehicle in the possession of the third party who is Augustine Araki. Instead of arresting him, a negotiation took place between them and it was planned that Ikenga will rather be arrested.
“It was the same Araki who gave them the phone number and perfected the plan with them to arrest Ikenga out of his house and that Araki will drive behind them once he is arrested to park the vehicle at the station so as to make it look like Ikenga was arrested in his house and the vehicle was equally recovered from Ikenga’s house.
“Further investigation confirmed that when the incident took place, Araki used same vehicle to pick up one of the people that were later identified as police men to escape to the station. The same vehicle was later driven by Araki at night and parked in Ikenga’s house.”
Policemen taken for kidnappers
“To worsen matters, the one (policeman) injured started running and shooting sporadically. This further aroused the suspicion that they were kidnappers. They were later apprehended and the Area Commander Ogoja, DPO Ogoja and Yala and even the Army Barracks Ogoja were all contacted.
It was while at the Okuku Police Station that they came out to say they were policemen. It is worthy to note that 10 days after this incident, on 27 April 2019, the burial day of Edoh Pharmacy, a kidnap victim, who was killed after a heavy ransom had been collected, a group of kidnappers came into the same Okuku junction claiming to be policemen kidnapped one Mr Odo Mathias Agama, a pharmacist in broad day light. In the process, an okada rider was shot and killed by the kidnappers who made away with him.
“The kidnappers claiming to be policemen had killed one Mr Chinaka and even kidnapped the IPMAN Chairman of Ogoja branch with same highlander jeep”, he added.